SAN ANTONIO — Chick Hearn, having missed only his second half of basketball in more than 35 years, said Wednesday night he expected to broadcast Friday night's game in Los Angeles, his 3,273rd in a row.
Referring to Joseph Sugarman, his Beverly Hills physician, Hearn said, "I think he'll have me ready. He's a magician."
Hearn awoke Wednesday morning with laryngitis. A local doctor and nurse tended to Hearn for much of the day, beginning at 7:30 a.m., and Hearn was on the air when the Lakers tipped off against San Antonio.
By halftime, his voice ragged and his throat painful, Hearn decided he could no longer call the game. Derek Fisher, the Laker guard who is on the injured list, finished the game with Stu Lantz, Hearn's color commentator for 14 seasons.
Hearn last missed a play, he said, six years ago, during a playoff game, also against San Antonio, at the Forum.
"There's a lot of miles on those vocal cords," assistant coach Bill Bertka said.
Sitting behind Bertka on the team bus, Hearn grinned and said, "It's unbelievable that it could happen only twice since 1965.
"This one was the worst, because I didn't have my own doctor."
Said Shaquille O'Neal: "Chick is the original Superman. So, hopefully he's OK."
Hearn's wife, Marge, who was watching the game at home in Encino, said, "I'm so glad Chick didn't try and do the second half.
"When Chick has laryngitis it doesn't hurt and I don't think he knows how bad he sounds. He should have quit before he did."